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How to Make Multiple Selections in an Excel Drop-Down List

In this video I show you to create a drop-down list in Excel that lets you select multiple items.  Download the featured file here. Please note the featured file does not contain the VBA code required to complete the task.  Unfortunately, WordPress does not allow me to upload macro-enabled workbooks.

Step 1: Create a List of Values and Name It

In the video I create a list of values that I wanted to appear in the drop-down list on a separate worksheet. I also name the list.

To name a list:

  1. Select the cells in the list
  2. Click in the Name Box (just to the left of the formula bar – it displays the cell address of the active cell by default)
  3. Type a name that starts with a letter and does not contain spaces
  4. Press the Enter key on your keyboard to confirm

Step 2: Create the Drop-down List Using Data Validation

The next step is to create the drop-down list.  I did this on a separate worksheet to the list created above in step 1, although it could be created on the same worksheet. To create the drop-down list:

  1. Select the cell or cells you want the drop-down list to appear in
  2. Click on the Data tab on Excel’s ribbon
  3. Click on the Data Validation button in the Data Tools group
  4. In the Data Validation dialog, in the Allow: list select List
  5. Click in the Source: box
  6. Press F3 on your keyboard to open the Paste Name dialog
  7. Select the name you gave your list in Step 1
  8. Click on OK
  9. Click OK in the Data Validation dialog

By default a drop-down list will only allow you to select one item.

STEP3: Add the VBA Code to Your Drop-Down List

To add the VBA (visual basic for applications) code to your drop-down list follow these steps:

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut ALT F11 to open the Visual Basic Editor (VBE)
  2. Make sure the Project Explorer is visible – it displays all the workbook’s worksheet names.  If you can’t see it, use the keyboard shortcut CTRL R to open it.
  3. In the Project Explorer select the worksheet that contains your drop-down list.
  4. In the Code window (that’s the big white area to the right of the Project Explorer), paste the code below
  5. Close the VBE and you should find that you can select multiple items in your drop-down list.
Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)
Dim Oldvalue As String
Dim Newvalue As String
Application.EnableEvents = True
On Error GoTo Exitsub
If Not Intersect(Target, Range("A2")) Is Nothing Then
   If Target.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeAllValidation) Is Nothing Then
      GoTo Exitsub
   Else: If Target.Value = "" Then GoTo Exitsub Else
      Application.EnableEvents = False
      Newvalue = Target.Value
      Oldvalue = Target.Value
         If Oldvalue = "" Then
            Target.Value = Newvalue
            If InStr(1, Oldvalue, Newvalue) = 0 Then
               Target.Value = Oldvalue & vbNewLine & Newvalue
            Target.Value = Oldvalue
         End If
      End If
   End If
End If
Application.EnableEvents = True
Application.EnableEvents = True
End Sub

There are a few tweaks to the code that you make and I go through these in the video.  One thing you should note is that the code, as it is, assumes you drop-down is in cell A2.  If it isn’t, change the range address in line 6.

Please note, when you save the worbook, because it now contains VBA code, it needs to be saved as a Macro-enabled Workbook (*.xlsm).